Salt and Light PITSTOP

“To live by Jesus’ Vision of Morality, his vision of the good life, we must possess the godly character of ‘loving’. Our presence to people must not be bland, tasteless and dull. It must invite and welcome, not isolate and reject. To be truly loving, one must be transformed from within and be a new creation in Christ, which simply means to bear the flavor of Christ. In this way, our mercy, our love for others, the respect we show them become more authentic.”

Question: In a scale of 1 – 10 (with 10 being the highest), how closely does the way I I live my life today resemble Christ’s Vision of Morality? Explain.


Church as Catholic PITSTOP

Vatican II synthesizes this mark further in a way to remind us of God’s call to universality in the world:

  • All are called to belong to the new People of God. Wherefore his People, while remaining one and unique, is to be spread throughout the whole world to all ages… This character of universality which adorns the People of God is that gift of the Lord whereby the Catholic Church strives energetically and constantly to bring all humanity with all its riches back to Christ the Head int he unity of his Spirit. (Lumen Gentium 13)


  1. Do I make myself available to others or I am focus on my own problems?
  2. How do I communicate to others the joy of encountering the Lord and the joy of belonging to the Church?
  3. Do we accept the other as who they are or do we intend to form them the way we want them to be?
  4. How do the answers to 1-3 speak of catholicity in the Church?

Why be Holy?

Take the time to reflect on the questions in order to come up with an honest answer. Please respond to the following guide questions:

  1. Why should I be Holy?
  2. Do I allow myself to be sanctified (made holy)?
  3. Are we a Church in which the love of God is lived, in which there is care for the other, in which we pray for one another?








An Apology by Richard Dawkins

Those intrepid enough to venture onto my Twitter feed will have noticed a new feeding frenzy yesterday (20thAugust 2014), for which I apologise. The issue is the morality of abortion following screening for Down syndrome.

Down Syndrome, or Trisomy 21, results from the presence of an extra copy (or partial copy) of Chromosome 21. Symptoms vary but usually include characteristic facial features especially eye shape, abnormal growth patterns, and moderate mental disability. Life expectancy is reduced, and those who survive through adulthood often need special care as though they are children. Parents who care for their children with Down Syndrome usually form strong bonds of affection with them, as they would with any child. These feelings are sincere and mutual, and probably account for some of the hate tweets I have been experiencing (see below).

Screening for the chromosomal abnormality is normally offered, especially to older mothers who are more likely to have a child with the condition. When Down Syndrome is detected, most couples opt for abortion and most doctors recommend it.\

Yesterday a woman on Twitter, one of our respected regulars on, said she would be unsure what to do if she found a fetus she was carrying had Down Syndrome. I replied to her, beginning my reply with @ which – or so I thought (I’m told Twitter’s policy on this might recently have changed) – meant it would not go to all my million followers but only to the minority of people who follow both her and me. That was my intention. However, it doesn’t stop people who go out of their way to find such tweets, even if they don’t automatically pop up on their Twitter feeds. Many did so, and the whole affair blew up into the feeding frenzy I mentioned.

Here is what I would have said in my reply to this woman, given more than 140 characters:

“Obviously the choice would be yours. For what it’s worth, my own choice would be to abort the Down fetus and, assuming you want a baby at all, try again. Given a free choice of having an early abortion or deliberately bringing a Down child into the world, I think the moral and sensible choice would be to abort. And, indeed, that is what the great majority of women, in America and especially in Europe, actually do.  I personally would go further and say that, if your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare. I agree that that personal opinion is contentious and needs to be argued further, possibly to be withdrawn. In any case, you would probably be condemning yourself as a mother (or yourselves as a couple) to a lifetime of caring for an adult with the needs of a child. Your child would probably have a short life expectancy but, if she did outlive you, you would have the worry of who would care for her after you are gone. No wonder most people choose abortion when offered the choice. Having said that, the choice would be entirely yours and I would never dream of trying to impose my views on you or anyone else.”

That’s what I would have said, if a woman were to ask my advice. As you might notice, it takes a lot more than 140 characters! I condensed it down to a tweet, and the result was understandably seen in some quarters as rather heartless and callous: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.” Of course I regret using abbreviated phraseology which caused so much upset. I never wanted to “cry havoc”!


To conclude, what I was saying simply follows logically from the ordinary pro-choice stance that most us, I presume, espouse. My phraseology may have been tactlessly vulnerable to misunderstanding, but I can’t help feeling that at least half the problem lies in a wanton eagerness to misunderstand.

Pope Francis on Church as One

On the Unity of the Church
Vatican City, September 25, 2013 (
Here is the translation of Pope Francis’ address during his weekly General Audience today held in St.
Peter’s Square.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the “Creed” we say “I believe in One … Church,” that is, we profess that the Church is one and this Church is, in herself, unity. However, if we look at the Catholic Church in the world we discover that she has almost 3,000 dioceses scattered in all the Continents: so many languages, so many cultures! Yet the thousands of Catholic communities form a unity. How can this be? We find a synthetic answer in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states: the Catholic Church spread around the world “has only one faith, only one sacramental life, only one apostolic succession, one common hope, the same charity” (n.  61). Unity in faith, in hope, in charity, unity in the Sacraments, in the Ministry: they are as pillars that support and hold together the one great edifice of the Church. Wherever we go, even in the smallest parish, in the most isolated corner of this
earth, there is the one Church; we are at home, we are in the family, we are among brothers and sisters. And this is a great gift of God! The Church is one for all. There isn’t a Church for Europeans, one for Africans, one for Americans, one for Asians, one for those who live in Oceania, but it’s the same one everywhere. It is as happens in a family: one can be far away, scattered around the world, but the profound bonds that unite all the members remain firm no matter what the distance is. I am thinking of the experience of the World Youth Day at Rio de Janeiro: in that immense multitude of young people on the beach of Copacabana, so many languages were heard, very different facial features were seen among them, different cultures met, yet there was a profound unity, one only Church was formed, there was unity and it was felt. Let’s all ask ourselves: do I feel this unity? Do I live this unity? Or don’t I care because I’m closed in in my small group or in myself? Am I one of those who “privatize” the Church for my own group, my own nation, my own friends? When I hear that so many Christians in the world are suffering, am I indifferent or is it as if someone of my family were suffering? Do we pray for one another? It’s important to look beyond one’s own enclosure, to feel oneself Church, the one family of God!

2. We take another step and ask ourselves: are there wounds to this unity? Can we wound this unity? Unfortunately, we see that in the course of history, also now, we don’t always live unity. Sometimes misunderstandings, conflicts, tensions, divisions arise that wound, and then the Church doesn’t have the face we would like, she doesn’t manifest charity. What God wants. We are the ones who create lacerations! And if we look at the divisions that there still are among Christians, Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants … we feel the labor of rendering this unity fully visible. God gives us unity, but we often
find it hard to live it. We must seek, build communion, and educate ourselves to communion, to surmount misunderstandings and divisions, beginning with the family, with the ecclesial realities, in the ecumenical dialogue. Our world is in need of unity, of reconciliation, of communion and the Church is the House of communion. Saint Paul said to the Christians of Ephesus: “I therefore, prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (4:1-3). Humility, gentleness, magnanimity, love to preserve unity! And he continued: There is one body, that of Christ which we receive in the Eucharist; one Spirit, the Holy Spirit that animates and constantly recreates the Church; one hope, eternal life; one faith, one Baptism, one God, Father of us all (cf. vv. 4-6). The richness of what unites us! Each one should ask himself today: do I make unity grow in the family, in the parish, in the community or am I a motive of division, of hardship? Do I have the humility to heal with patience, with sacrifice, the wounds to communion?

3.Finally, the last step in greater profoundness: who is the motor of this unity of the Church? It is the Holy Spirit. Our unity is not primarily the fruit of our consensus, of our effort to be in agreement, but it comes from Him who makes unity in diversity, which is harmony. Because of this, prayer is important, which is the soul of our commitment as men and women of communion, of unity. Let us pray to the Lord: enable us to be ever more united, to never be instruments of division; make
us be committed — as a beautiful Franciscan prayer says –, to bring love where there is hatred, to bring forgiveness where there is offense, to bring union where there is discord.

* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In the Creed, we confess that the Church is “one”. When we consider the rich diversity of languages, cultures and peoples present in the Church throughout the world, we realize that this unity is a God-given gift, grounded in our common Baptism and our sharing in the Church’s one faith and sacramental life. Like a great family, we are united to all our brothers and sisters in Christ, wherever they may be. We might ask ourselves how much we appreciate and
express in our daily lives, and particularly in our prayer, this reality of our unity and solidarity in the communion of the Church. The world needs our witness to God’s plan for the unity, reconciliation and peace of the whole human family. Let us ask the Lord to enable us, and Christians everywhere, to work to overcome our tensions and divisions, to strive, as Saint Paul bids us, to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (cf.Eph 4:3), and to cherish the harmony which the same Spirit creates
from the richness of our diversity.



  1. What are the three big ideas from the reading above and how do these ideas confirm what we have learned about the Church as one?
  2. What is a challenge to the oneness that is given to the Church?
  3. How can we promote one-ness in the Church?



Name, Name, Name, Name





An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins by J.D. Flynn

Read the link provided and answer the following Questions

An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins by J.D. Flynn

Guide Questions

  1. How did Dr. Richard Dawkins view others? Did J.D. Flynn think and see like Christ in his open letter to Dr. Richard Dawkins? Why do you say so? 
  1. Was J.D. Flynn rational or irrational in his belief about people with Down Syndrome? Why do you say so? Was Dr. Richard Dawkins rational or irrational in his belief? Why do you say so?